You have the luxury of knowing the outcome of the Presidential Election as you read this column. However, I am at a disadvantage in that I had to go to print prior to Tuesday’s election.

By any measure it has been a historical and watershed election. There was no incumbent president or vice president on the ballot for the first time in decades. In addition, this was the first presidential election without a Bush or Clinton on the ballot in 28 years.

The contrasts between the two candidates were obvious. You had a 72 year old white male, John McCain, versus a 47 year old African American Barack Obama. If the polls are correct, Obama has won the Presidency, although McCain has carried Alabama overwhelmingly. The outcome of several races in Alabama are in doubt and I will review those with you next week.

Again, if the polls are accurate, in addition to Obama’s White House triumph, you will see a significant increase in the Democratic ranks in the U.S. House and Senate. In short, it is a Democratic year. American voters obviously wanted a change from eight years of George W. Bush. The electorate wanted to punish the Republicans for being associated with the most unpopular president in U.S. history. The entire Democratic campaign was built around tying John McCain and all Republicans to Bush.

George Bush’s mark as President has been dismal at best. His presidency has been centered around the invasion of Iraq that has cost America thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and has contributed significantly to the massive national debt. This year’s financial debacle has also been an albatross that was essentially impossible to overcome.

Bush’s last four years have been devastating to the Republican Party. The massive defeats in 2006, coupled with the probable losses Tuesday, have been the most dramatic since the 1930’s. They have gone from holding the Presidency, the Senate, and the House to losing control of all three. Bush’s legacy within the Republican Party is the same as Herbert Hoover’s.

However, Bush has left an indelible conservative handprint on the Supreme Court. The religious right will hail him as the Messiah in years to come. He ran as a social conservative and he has delivered. He has been as unwavering in his devotion to his beliefs and his commitment to the conservative cause as he has to his war.

One of the most indelible hallmarks that a president leaves during his term in the White House is his appointments to the U.S. Supreme Court. This tribunal determines the law of the land and they are appointed for life. These justices render major decisions over American public policy for decades and in some cases generations after the President who appointed them has long left office. A president is fortunate to have one appointment during a term. George W. Bush has had two, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito.

These two Bush appointees have proven to be rock solid conservatives. Roberts and Alito have joined conservatives Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas in a phalanx that has moved the Court to the right. In just three years, this Roberts Court has moved the Court philosophically more dramatically than anytime in history, including FDR’s New Deal appointees and the liberal Earl Warren Court.

In the final analysis one of the most significant impacts as to who was chosen on Tuesday was the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. The power of the presidency to appoint Supreme Court justices was paramount in this election. There will be at least one and probably three appointments made by the next President. Therefore, the new President will get to exercise the greatest of all presidential political powers, the choice of a seat on the Supreme Court.

John Paul Stevens, the leader of the Court’s four liberals, is 88 years old. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, also a liberal, is 76 and in poor health. Although David Souter is only 69, he longs for his home in New Hampshire. So without a doubt the stakes in Tuesday’s election were high when it comes to the power to alter the Supreme Court.

If indeed Obama was elected Tuesday, the biggest losers in the election may have been social conservatives.